I did it - my first confession
I went ahead and went to St. Thomas Aquinas and did my first confession. I left work at 5p, trying to get to STA before 6:00. Because it was rainy and Dallas drivers are stupid, it took me 55 minutes to drive from Grand Prairie to Lakewood where STA is. I got there, and looked for the confession area. STA has those old-timey boxes for confession, just like you see at the movies. Have you ever seen Moonstruck? Yeah, kind of like that. There is a green light over where the priest sits, so you'll know that he's in there, and there's red lights over the doors when someone is in the box confessing. I imagine that's so that you don't walk in on someone. I'm also guessing that the preist flips the switch to turn on the red light. They had two sides you could go in, one with a kneeler and a screen and one called the "Reconciliation Room." I went to the one with the kneeler because I could see what was in there when the person before me stepped out.
There was one person before me, so I sat there and waited. I prayed for a good confession, and then it was my turn. I had brought a Cheat Sheet from the Internet with all of the prayers in it, in case I wasn't sure what was coming next.
The booth where I was to confess was very bright, not dark and scary like the ones in the movies. It was painted ivory, and the screen was actually like little slatted wood, so that you could hear but not see a thing. The Act of Contrition prayer was on the wall next to the screen, held on by a little tack.
I knelt down, and said, just like in the movies (I don't know if you can tell, but the movies is pretty much my only point of reference for these things) "Bless me father for I have sinned. This is my first confession." The priest said, "Ever?" I said, "Yes, father, I was baptized on Easter." He said, "Oh, this Easter? Like two weeks ago Easter?" I said, "Well, like four days ago Easter, yeah. I was just really nervous about getting this first confession over with." He said, "Well, congratulations! About getting baptized, I mean." I was hoping he wasn't congratulating me about sinning.
He told me about how in the middle ages people often got baptized on their deathbed, but now people get baptized early. I said, "Ok, is this where I confess then?" He said yes, so I said my sins. He said, "Ok, this is where you pray the Act of Contrition", so I did. He said after that, "Do you have that memorized?", like it sounded that I did, and I said, "No, it's on a piece of paper in here on a tack." He said, "Oh, yes, ok then." Then he absolved me of my sins and gave me two Hail Mary's as a penance ... just like in the movies.
I was very grateful for Hollywood when I was kneeling in that box.
So I went and knelt and said two Hail Mary's. I stayed for the evening Mass. It was a very nice mass. We knelt at the altar rail to receive communion, and when they said the part in the eucharistic prayer about This is my body, and held the bread up, they rang bells. I thought it was quite cool.
The main part of the mass wasn't as different from the little daily Mass that I've been going to. There were a lot of people there, though, but they were all scattered about the church.
If I can handle Dallas traffic, I'd like to make a habit of going there on Thursday nights for confession.
I'm thinking that I will probably go there on Sunday this week, just to see how I like it.